Two small boys from a central Serbian town are able to attract metal objects, acting much like human magnets, according to their mother. It's a claim that is raising doubts among some experts.
Sanja Petrovic, the mother of 4-year-old David, said it first came to her attention "about a month ago."
"I asked him to fetch me a spoon so I cold feed his little brother, and he yelled back: 'Mom, it sticks!'" Petrovic recalled. "I found him with several spoons and forks hanging from his body."
Terrified, the 26-year-old woman — who lives in the town of Gornji Milanovac — phoned her sister, who discovered that her son, Luka, 6, has the same attraction. "Other kids in the family can't do this, just the two of them," Petrovic said.
The phenomenon is rare and so far medically unexplained. Several similar cases, however, have recently been reported in the media in Serbia, and also in Croatia and Bosnia.
"As far as I know, there is no medical or scientific explanation," radiologist Mihajlo Dodic, who runs a practice in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, said.
Other experts questioned whether the boys actually have any special abilities.
"I doubt very much that someone is magnetic," said Patrick Regan, a physics professor at the University of Surrey in Britain. "Humans are made of the wrong material to be magnetic. Humans are mostly water and water does not have any magnetic properties."
"It would be pretty unsafe to have metal objects sticking to you against the force of gravity," he added. "You couldn't switch something like that off — unless it's fake."
Luka's father, Slavisa Lukic, said doctors have examined the boys, and announced them to be perfectly healthy, adding that they should be monitored as they grow up. "Nobody can tell us why this is happening," he said.
David's mother said her son loses his magnetic powers when he is asleep, but regains them when he wakes up and starts moving.
When he plays with his friends "anything will stick to him," she said. Afterward, he will feel a little chilly and tired, she said.
Both David and Luka are happy to put on a show for visitors. On cue, the boys proudly smile and raise their hands in the air to show that cutlery and plates stick to their bodies without assistance.
The rest of the family also seem to have grown accustomed to the peculiarity and the attention.
"It was in shock at first, but now we just try to keep the knives away from them," Petrovic says.